High Contribution of Nonfossil Sources to Submicrometer Organic Aerosols in Beijing, China

Zhang, Yanlin; Ren, Hong; Sun, Yele; Cao, Fang; Chang, Yunhua; Liu, Shoudong; Lee, Xuhui; Agrios, Konstantinos; Kawamura, Kimitaka; Liu, Di; Ren, Lujie; Du, Wei; Wang, Zifa; Prévôt, André S. H.; Szidat, Sönke; Fu, Pingqing (2017). High Contribution of Nonfossil Sources to Submicrometer Organic Aerosols in Beijing, China. Environmental science & technology, 51(14), pp. 7842-7852. ACS Publications 10.1021/acs.est.7b01517

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Source apportionment of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) from PM1 (particulate matter with a diameter equal to or smaller than 1 μm) in Beijing, China was carried out using radiocarbon (14C) measurement. Despite a dominant fossil-fuel contribution to EC due to large emissions from traffic and coal combustion, nonfossil sources are dominant contributors of OC in Beijing throughout the year except during the winter. Primary emission was the most important contributor to fossil-fuel derived OC for all seasons. A clear seasonal trend was found for biomass-burning contribution to OC with the highest in autumn and spring, followed by winter and summer. 14C results were also integrated with those from positive matrix factorization (PMF) of organic aerosols from aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) measurements during winter and spring. The results suggest that the fossil-derived primary OC was dominated by coal combustion emissions whereas secondary OC was mostly from fossil-fuel emissions. Taken together with previous 14C studies in Asia, Europe and USA, a ubiquity and dominance of nonfossil contribution to OC aerosols is identified not only in rural/background/remote regions but also in urban regions, which may be explained by cooking contributions, regional transportation or local emissions of seasonal-dependent biomass burning emission. In addition, biogenic and biomass burning derived SOA may be further enhanced by unresolved atmospheric processes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Agrios, Konstantinos and Szidat, Sönke


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




ACS Publications




Sönke Szidat

Date Deposited:

16 Oct 2017 08:58

Last Modified:

16 Oct 2017 08:58

Publisher DOI:






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